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Green’s 30 saves WC; Vikings claw by Cougars

[01/24/01] A big game by Lia Green kept Warren Central from being on the wrong end of a big-time upset Tuesday night.

The Alabama-Birmingham signee scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Lady Vikes (19-5) to a 64-58 win over Northwest Rankin (5-19).

“We’ve got a big division game coming up and I think we got caught looking ahead,” WC coach Donny Fuller said, referring to Friday’s contest with Division 3-5A leader Greenville, ranked No. 10 in The Associated Press poll.

Wanda Calvin and JaQuita Benard scored 12 apiece for WC, which beat Northwest 79-46 on Dec. 15. Benard pulled down nine rebounds and Calvin added eight rebounds and seven assists.

“Lia did a great job and we did a good job of getting it inside,” Fuller said, adding that Wendy Thomas and Kim Smith played good late defense on Northwest’s best player, Stephanie Boggans, who scored just two of her 23 in the fourth quarter.

Jennifer Johnson added 13 for Northwest.

“We didn’t do a good job,” Fuller said. “We were lackadaisical in our approach.”

WC had turnovers on four straight possessions in the first quarter and Boggans hit two straight 3-pointers to give the visitors a quick lead. LaShanda Williams hit a trey at the buzzer to make it 22-22 at the end of the opening quarter.

Northwest went up by five midway through the second period, but Green got four points off back-to-back steals to give WC a 35-34 advantage at the break.

Northwest again went up by five after three straight WC turnovers to start the third. Neither team led by more than five until Lameka Miller’s putback with 3:45 left gave WC a 55-48 lead. Northwest cut it to four with Paige Lemmons’ 3 with three minutes left, but never threatened again.

“Lia played her game like the Dandy Dozen player she is,” Northwest coach Felicia Lofton said. “They had the depth and they got the crucial offensive rebounds … We will build on this. It shows that we can play with the big girls.”

(B) WC 70, Northwest 63

John Duett went to battle for his guys. Then they battled for him.

Carlton Bradford led four Vikings in double figures with 18 points. But it was Michael Castellane’s seven fourth-quarter points that sealed it for WC (10-12). Kevin Coker and Justin Green scored 11 apiece and Castellane finished with 10. Coker also had five assists and three steals.

For Northwest (15-11), Patrick Lindsey scored 19, Marcus Melvin had 14 before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter and Ivory Horne added 12.

“I’m getting excited about this team,” Duett said, referring to an uncharacteristic outburst that got him a technical foul in the second quarter. “They’re learning to win ugly and pretty, and this one was ugly.”

Duett was on the floor, in the referee’s face after Clifford Walker was hit in the face but didn’t get the call. That was just after a questionable block/charge call was reversed in favor of Northwest.

It was nip-and-tuck until late in the third quarter, when Coker’s 3-pointer and a Green putback gave WC a seven-point cushion.

The Vikings went up by as much as 13 on Clifton Walker’s steal and layup, but Northwest cut it to 66-59 with two minutes left. After going into a stall to force Northwest to foul, Castellane hit two free throws, then got a rebound and a block on the Cougars’ next two possessions.

“When Melvin fouled out, that was the difference,” Northwest coach Gary Post said. “We lost some scoring, plus he creates opportunities. I subbed more than I ever have, trying to find that right combination.”